Practice Alerts

Supervision

Law, rules and regulations, not Guidelines, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Guideline may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations.

The supervisor is ultimately responsible for quality control and can be held accountable for the professional services being provided by the person being supervised by him or her, including those in academic programs, those pursuing licensure, and certified behavior analysts (CBAAs), who can only practice under the on-going supervision of a licensed behavior analyst (LBA). While there are some differences in the various forms of supervision, both LBAs and authorized health care practitioners, who currently diagnose, prescribe, or order treatment involving ABA in their professional practice and provide supervision, are engaged in the practice of ABA.

When a LBA or an authorized health care practitioners/other qualified supervisor agrees to serve as a supervisor, there are specific areas that should be addressed in advance so that all parties understand their duties and obligations:

  1. The nature and terms of the relationship should be spelled out in advance, including:
    • The limits of confidentiality, including, but not limited to, the mandate for reporting child abuse
    • The information that the supervisor can report to the supervisee's employer in an employment setting
    • The limits of what the supervisor can do if he or she has questions about the nature or quality of the practice being reviewed
    • The supervisor's ultimate responsibility to the person receiving supervision
  2. When the supervisor's signature is required on a record or insurance form, the supervising LBA or other qualified supervisor should be fully aware of the ramifications of that signature. Supervisors should consult with the insurance company or their attorney if there are questions about completing insurance forms for supervisees who work in agency or private practice settings as employees.
  3. If a supervisor is involved when a professional service is performed, it is wise to inform the recipient of the ABA services and to get his or her consent, or when the recipient lacks capacity to consent, a person authorized pursuant to law to consent to health care for such individual, to avoid various future complications, including issues of confidentiality.
  4. When LBAs or other qualified supervisors act as supervisors for persons gaining experience for licensure purposes, the supervisee should not directly engage or pay the supervisor, and the supervisor should not accept payment directly from the supervisee for supervision that would lead to course credit in academic programs or licensure. Payment should be made by the educational program or by the agency employing the intern or trainee/assistant. When a supervisor accepts payment directly from the supervisee in these situations, it is a conflict of interest and dual relationship (see practice alert for Dual Relationships).
  5. Supervisors should recognize that they might be held accountable and/or charged with professional misconduct for the professional misconduct of a supervisee.
  6. It is wise to keep records of each supervisory session and to provide documentation of the supervision to those who require such verifications on behalf of and, where necessary, with the consent of the supervisee.

Supervising Certified Behavior Analyst Assistants (CBAAs):

Education Law and Regulations of the Commissioner of Education require that certified behavior analyst assistants (CBAAs) receive direct supervision. CBAAs must work under the supervision of a licensed behavior analyst (LBA)*. An LBA cannot supervise more than six CBAAs at a time. CBAAs should receive supervision in all aspects of their work, including but not limited to, carrying out initial assessments, treatment and assessments to terminate services. The LBA supervisor must meet with and observe the CBAA supervisee on a regular basis to review the implementation of treatment plans and to foster the CBAA supervisee’s professional development. The amount and type of supervision provided should be based on the ability level and clinical experience of the CBAA supervisee and the setting in which he or she is providing the services.

Additionally, the supervisor should periodically assess each patient's/client’s progress, and review and sign treatment notes and reports prepared by the CBAA supervisee.

* For those gaining experience for licensure as a CBAA, the supervisor may be an LBA or licensed in a profession authorized to provide applied behavior analysis services in the jurisdiction where the supervised experience occurs.

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

Last Updated: May 15, 2017